Small-scale mining in Ghana: The government and the galamsey
This paper argues that the current formalization system for small-scale gold miners in Ghana has been undermined and the small-scale mining laws no longer capture the reality of the sector’s activities. The paper will examine the small-scale mining system and shows that registered and unregistered actors operate not only in parallel but are actually intertwined and highly dependent on one another. The paper shows that the perceived dichotomy of formal and informal actors in the sector does not actually exist. The sector has instead evolved into a highly intertwined group of semi-formal sectors operating with varying degrees of legal registrations. The paper concludes that political leniency and law enforcement corruption has resulted in a booming small-scale gold system under poor government control. The paper recommends that politicians move to enact reforms to regularize the small-scale mining sector and curtail ubiquitous environmental and occupational safety problems. Anti-corruption initiatives and law enforcement reforms are the most urgent. However, reforming the laws is also necessary to capture and regulate the technological innovations the sector is currently using.
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